When man appeared on the scene, roughly half a million years ago, he inherited an earth rich in natural resources and in a state of, more or less, ecological equilibrium. As time went by, man came to occupy almost the whole of the earth’s surface, his numbers began slowly to increase, and his technology gradually expanded. Until about a couple of centuries ago human occupance of the earth and human utilisation of the earth’s resources placed no excessive stresses or strains upon space and resources, except in a few instances. However, in the seventeenth century we can detect the beginnings of a revolutionary change in man’s relationship with his environment, a change which in the eighteenth century, clearly manifested itself in what we have since come to call the scientific, technological, agricultural, industrial and commercial revolutions. As a result of this fundamental change, or rather changes, the entire basis of man’s relationship with his environment was radically altered.
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